3:16 means...

So my staff gave me Max Lucado's new book 3:16: The Numbers of Hope for Christmas and in the very front of the book, several "famous" Christians give their 2 cents about what John 3:16 means to them. There's Anne Graham Lotz, the govenor of Texas (?), Jeff Foxworthy, Mac Powell, James Dobson, etc. All have some little blurb about John 3:16. Which got me to thinking....what do you all think about John 3:16? I've quoted it below, read it, ponder upon it, and gimme some of your best thoughts about it. Ready, set? GO!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16 (NASB)

What's on your heart and mind right now?


I'd just like to tell all of you Merry Christmas! My prayer is that your time with family is full of fun, laughter, tears (the good ones), and warm fuzzies. I'm going to be celebrating this year at my parent's house with all my family. There will be lots of food, games, fun, football games on TV, and late night talks around the table. We have a tradition of opening one present from each sibling on Christmas Eve. It basically started years ago because my brothers and I kept pestering my parents to let us open presents early - we just couldn't wait! They finally compromised by letting us open one present we got for each other.

What's your favorite Christmas family tradition?

Let There Be Light!: Musings from Day #5

As I'm writing this, it has been nearly 2 weeks since the ice storm and there are still people without power. My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I hope you could join with me on their behalf. Where two or more are in agreement...

So my home finally received power on Day #5 around 2 p.m. Christmas came early this year! Woo hoo! So here's some more fun facts I learned this week:
  • 50 degree bathroom + hot shower = creepy fog-filled bathroom that is so thick you wonder if someone/something is gonna jump out at you (I've watched too many horror flicks).
  • LED flashlights are awesome! They are very bright and yet their battery life is long (we averaged 5-6 hours use per day - and the light was still going strong on just one set of batteries). They would make a great last-minute gift for someone for Christmas.
  • In the dark, you lose all sense of time. One night my wife and I were having a conversation (that's code for argument). I looked at my watch and it was 2 a.m.! I thought it was 10 p.m.
  • In the absence of central heat, toilet lids become frigidly cold. Do not attempt to sit on them after you shower or else you might stick to them like a wet tongue on a cold metal pole. Yikes!
  • Don't place your socks too close to the fire to warm them. Ouch!
  • Take your feet out of your socks before warming them by the fire. Double ouch!

I hope this week's posts made you think. Most of all, I know I will not take for granted the blessing of electricity again. Have a wonderful weekend!

Do you have a plan in case you lose power?

Power Outtage: Musings from Day #4

So by Day #4, things were getting pretty redunculous. Here's why:
  1. My pharmacy got power restored on Day #3 at about 2 p.m. I live a mile away and no love!
  2. Due to #1, I had to go back to work. Just as you can imagine, after being closed for almost 3 days, things were a bit hectic (people gots to have their drugs!).
  3. I had to leave electricity behind at work and return to the dark ages at home. Yes, I needed the WAAAmbulance.

Here's a funny thing that by Day #4 shouldn't have been happening, and yet it still was - I was flipping the light switch whenever I walked into a room at my house. Now you would figure by Day #4 without any electricity whatsoever, my brain would have convinced my hand NOT to do such a silly motion, but no. My hand kept reaching for that dang ol' light switch. Habits are funny that way. Especially the "life-long" variety.

I began to contemplate all the habits I had formed over my lifetime. Some were good, but there were plenty that weren't. The problem with my bad habits is I have become comfortable with them to some degree. Comfortable enough that I don't care/desire to change them. This isn't very God-honoring.

My bad habits list looks something like this: complaceny towards daily time with God, towards working out, towards my tone with my wife, and towards pursuing my frienships. This is a small list, but significant nonetheless.

What's your list look like? How are you going to rewire your brain to change your habits?

Power Outtage: Musings from Day #3

So by day #3, I realized I am seriously addicted....to electricity! Without it for extensive amounts of time, I start going through withdrawals. They aren't pretty either. They include things like unprovoked crankiness, being completely discombobulated about time, thumb sucking, whining, semi-permanent bitter beer face, and the ever dangerous spontaneous down-in-the-floor tantrums.

All kidding aside, our situation wasn't that bad. At least we had heat and hot water (thank God for natural gas). There were many households who didn't even have that. The main thing I began to notice by Day #3 was this.....................(dramatic pause for effect)..........the silence. Without electricity, the TV/stereo/alarm clock/computer/heater fan were all silenced. It drove me nuts. Even throughout pharmacy school, I had to have "background noise" on in order to study. Silence bothers me, and I don't know why.

God is the loudest in utter silence. By Day #3, I began to "hear" Him more clearly than I have in quite some time. I used to know this, however over the years I had forgotten that God dwells in the "quiet whisper." It was an effective way to remind me.

So heres a challenge. Tonight turn off the TV/stereo/computer and anything else that makes an audible racket in your house (you can leave your Christmas tree lights on for dramatic effect). Sit there in the silence... and listen. He'll meet you there. I promise.

What did you hear?

Power Outtage: Musings from Day #2

"The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts." Prov. 17:3 (ESV)

I despise tests. I went to college nine years to become a pharmacist. I've taken my share of tests. Tests reveal weaknesses. Last week was a test, and it showed me a weakness about myself - I'm too self-reliant. I hate having to rely on anyone else for anything besides myself - including God.

The time: Late Monday night last week at my home.

The situation: I was trying to install a set of gas logs in my fireplace.

The crucible: It was cold. It was dark. I was exhausted. I was stresssed. I was afraid of failure, because failure meant I could blow-up my house. I was petrified with fear. I realized I needed help, and I didn't want to admit it, nor seek it out.

Like I said, I despise tests. They remind me that my intelligence, abilities, and/or experiences have limitations. I'd rather rely on myself than others, including God. In that moment of arrogant frustration, a small little voice in my head said "I will help you if you ask for it." And I did.

Suddenly, I was at peace. The inner turmoil and doubts went away and I was able to better focus on the task at hand. God helped me in that moment. He was right there by my side until I had successfully completed the install. As a result, I learned a valuable lesson about humility and trust - and my house stayed relatively warm the rest of the week.

What is God using to test you lately? What weaknesses are being exposed?

Power Outtage: Musings from Day 1

First off, as I'm writing this (Sunday evening) I know there are people who still do not have power. Having been without for 5 days myself, my prayers and thoughts are with them.

This past week has been the most humbling, eye-opening, desperate, thought-provoking, and yet awesome week I've experienced in a while. For those who are unaware, Oklahoma was hit with a major ice storm this past week that knocked out electricity to over half a million people. My wife and I went without power from early Monday morning until Friday afternoon last week. To say it was challenging would be an understatement.

So, throughout this week, God revealed a lot of things to me. This week I'd like to share some of them with all of you, and I hope they inspire, motivate, and/or cause you to pause and reflect. More than anything, I would love to have your comments. We all grow from each other - iron sharpening iron.

Day #1:
  • I'm blown away by the awesome power of ice. Ice, more specifically its weight, had literally bowed 100 year old oak trees completely over to the ground. It was eery driving around and seeing not one or two, but hundreds of treetops doubled over and touching the ground. It's almost as if they were worshipping God themselves.
  • People panic. On Day #1, I had to drive an hour away to buy a set of gas logs for my fireplace because there were none to be had in the Tulsa metro after 12 noon. That went for generators, propane tanks and space heaters as well. All gone in a matter of hours. Grocery stores were practically barren as well. For me, Monday was a small glimpse into what the aftermath of the Rapture might look like. Not pretty.
  • My personal security rests waaaaay too much on things of this world (i.e. electricity, TV, internet, etc.). It's no coincidence God brought this verse to me one morning, and I was ashamed to have to confess before him where my trusts and boasts have been as of late. When these items were taken away, I felt as if my foundation was shaken to the core. I'm thankful God reminded me of Who, not what, is my Rock.

What's the one thing you would miss the most if you lost electricity for a week?

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

I bet you were wondering "Hey! Where's Kyle been this whole week?" Well, the answer to that is at home where I have no electricity due to the ice storm last weekend. Yes folks, it's going on 5 days now without any power whatsoever. My pharmacy's power was restored on Wednesday afternoon, however, my home (which is just a mile away) still has yet to be electrified (I am bitter, I won't lie!).

The good news is this: God has used this circumstance to teach me some things that I'm looking forward to sharing with you next week. So stay tuned, and if you're still outta power like myself, stay warm. Psalm 20 has been very comforting to me this week, and I hope you take time today to read and meditate upon it yourself.

See you next week!

Santa Came Early This Year....

OK, so I did something I never, ever thought I would do this past weekend.......

I bought a brand new car. My wife's former vehicle (a '95 Honda Accord w/222,000+ miles) was due for retirement. She actually fought having to get another car for several years b/c she loved hers so much. However, after a six month search (yes, it actually took that long) we finally found THE CAR. It is a Mazda CX-9.

Like I said before, I never thought I would ever buy a new car. I'm a huge advocate of buying used cars w/low miles 'cause I think you get a better deal. But, this car and the deal that came with it made it too good to pass up. Plus it didn't hurt that the car handles like a sports car.

So, do you buy new or used? Why?

"It's the gift that keeps on giving, Clark!"

I absolutely love the movie "Christmas Vacation." Especially the part of Cousin Eddie played by Randy Quaid. Pure brilliance! What I like most about the movie is the fun it pokes at the family dynamics surrounding a holiday. I mean, let's face it, we all can relate a character or two from this movie to someone in our family. If you can't, it's because YOU are the crazy family member!

What's your favorite Christmastime movie? Do you have any traditions about when/where you watch it?

The Coolest Thing Since Sliced Bread

Is sliced bread really that cool to begin with?

Anyways, the other night I was putting up the ol' Christmas tree (it's pre-lit by the way) and an entire row of lights went POOF! We've had this tree for about seven years now, so it's getting up there as far as Christmas tree lifespans are concerned. Needless to say, it took several trips to various retail mega-giant stores to find a strand of lights I could use to switch out with the old, burnt out bulbs on my tree. After all this angst and aggravation, no worky. Oh the agony!

So, at this point, I remembered I had in my possession what I have affectionately named The Magic Gun. Now, The Magic Gun is a device that is apparently powered by Christmas cheer, because it certainly made me a happy camper! What you do is remove any bulb along the strand that isn't working, stick The Magic Gun into the empty socket, and pull the trigger about 10-20 times and PRESTO! All the lights came back on (Clark Griswold eat your heart out)! Trust me, after replacing every single bulb along that particular strand, and then to see it still not work, I was ready to chunk the whole tree itself. Thanks to The Magic Gun, my tree still lives to this day....even though it's artificial....and I don't water it....'cause that would be dangerous....and stupid.

What's your most aggravating Christmas light story?

Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas?

So I was watching the Top Chef Holiday Special last night with the wifey, and I couldn't help but notice the cast kept saying Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas. The set was definitely adorned and decorated with Christamas lights, colors and trees - so there was no mistaking the "special" was definitely meant to be a Christmas-themed event. However, no Merry Christamas. It made me sad.

What's your take? Is Happy Holidays good enough for you?

What's Your Thing?

Everybody's good at something. Whether it's art, writing, cooking, sports, learning, singing, leading, etc. In fact, most of us are multi-talented. Most of us are actually quite good at several things. However, we are really good, really passionate about one thing. Your thing is your lever.

Jesus was a freak. He was good - no, great - at everything. Probably the best thing He was good at, however, was being opportunistic. He used opportunities to leverage His influence upon people like no other person I can think of. He was so good at sizing up the opportunity, and then taking advantage of it. Sick? He would heal. Dead? He would revive. Proud? He would humble. Disgraced? He would honor. Discarded? He would love. Hungry? He would feed. Lost? He would die. Each opportunity was used to glorify God, not himself.

So, what's your thing? How can you use it to glorify God?